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WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center's board of directors is accepting grant proposals through Sept. 15. 

Grants must be designed to improve the American sheep industry and must accomplish one or more of the following objectives: 

• Strengthen and improve long-term sustainability of the lamb and wool industry's infrastructure by increasing the numbers in production; 

• Provide integration of performance and production data from sources that can help enhance the National Sheep Improvement Program; 

• Provide leadership training and education to producers and packers within the sheep industry; 

• Enhance sheep production by improving infrastructure of the American sheep industry through assistance to all segments of the industry to address sustainable production and marketing of sheep milk, meat, fiber and related services such as grazing for fire management and pasture improvements; 

• Promote lamb marketing through an organized method that can measure tangible results; 

• Enhance the sheep industry by coordinating information exchange and seeking mutual understanding and marketing within the international industry community. 

The American Sheep Industry Association fought for the creation of the center, and annually nominates experienced producers from the sheep industry to serve on the center's board of directors. 

The Sheep Center was established as part of the 2008 Farm Bill and awarded funding by AMS to be used for the Sheep Production and Marketing Grant Program as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. Grant funding can be used on activities designed to strengthen and enhance the production of marketing of sheep and sheep products in the United States through infrastructure development, business development, production, resource development, and market and environmental research. 

The Sheep Center will review each proposal, recommend funding and submit final recommendations to the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service for approval. 

For more information, contact NSIIC Program Manager Steve Lee at 207-236-6567, stevelee@nsiic.org or send mail to NSIIC, PO Box 646, Rockland, ME 04841. 

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